Monday, January 30, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins



This is another favorite banana muffin recipe of mine.    If you cannot already tell, I have a banana obsession!!  My blog recipe for Donna's Banana Muffins (which are fabulous, by the way)  is great for anyone with food allergies and vegans.  It is a dairy-free, egg-free version.  If you don't like chocolate chips, just substitute nuts.  This is the muffin of choice for my kids.  They always ask for these for breakfast.  I have made them healthy enough that I don't mind feeding them chocolate chips in the morning. Enjoy~

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup white wheat flour (can also use spelt or unbleached all purpose)
3/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup natural brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp good quality vanilla
3/4 cup mini or regular chocolate chips (use semisweet or 60% cacao)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, including sugar.  Whisk until well mixed.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine banana, vanilla, egg, coconut oil and yogurt.  Make sure that the coconut oil isn't warm or it will solidify in chunks in your batter.  It must be soft but make sure it has completely cooled before adding to your mixer.  Mix until well incorporated on medium speed.  Stir in flour mixture and chocolate chips. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.  Fill 16 muffin cups with batter.  Bake for 22-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks.  Enjoy~


Shared at:
Family Fresh Meals

White Bean Bison Chili- Crockpot recipe

This meal is loaded with excellent protein, fiber, lycopene and good carbohydrates.  Not to mention, it's easy!!

White Bean Bison Chili



Ingredients:
1 lb ground bison (you can also use ground turkey,grass-fed beef or meatless veggie crumbles)
1/2 cup chopped onion
30 oz diced tomatoes with juice (I use the Pomi tomatoes in the carton)
16 oz white kidney beans (can use cooked dried beans or canned, if you use canned, drain and rinse them)
1/2 cup salsa (I use Jack's Special medium salsa)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives
jalepenos
Sour cream or plain greek yogurt

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown bison and onion.  Drain off any excess fat (there won't be much because it's lean).  Transfer meat mixture to the crockpot and add all other ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Serve with optional garnishes.  Serves 4.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fit and Fabulous Fridays #16

It's time for another weekend round-up of amazing healthy recipes! Fit and Fabulous Fridays is a place where amazing foodies share their lightened-up recipes!! I welcome all blogging friends to link up and join the fun. This is a place for you to showcase your amazing creations, encourage a healthy lifestyle for my readers and add to my fit recipe collection. I really appreciate all of you and the great recipes that you share.   I welcome all healthy lifestyle recipes (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo diet, etc.).  Have a fabulous weekend!!!!


Here's how it works:
  • Please link up to the URL of your post, not the URL of your main blog. When it asks for "Name", type in the name of your recipe.
  • Please leave a link back to this post in your post and grab my button for your blog(please pass the word to your blog friends for more fabulous recipes!)
  • Share your delicious and fit recipes from this week.
  • Leave me a comment telling me that you've linked up.
  • Please visit at least two others and comment on their wonderful additions to this party.
  • "Like" my facebook page for updates and link party reminders
Thank you for being a part of my link party! I love sharing recipes and look forward to trying yours! Have a wonderful weekend!!




Thursday, January 26, 2012

PB Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies- No refined sugar, dairy free, wheat free

I am really pleased with my latest creation.  I wanted to make a cookie that satisfied our sweet tooth without refined sugar, wheat or dairy products.  These cookies turned out amazing!  Everyone loved them.  You can easily substitute almond butter for the regular peanut butter, for those with peanut allergies.  I even think that crunchy nut butter would be great, too.  The flavor sort of reminds me of a no-bake cookie (one of my childhood favorites), except these are MUCH healthier!  I like them best after they have cooled and set. 
Warning:  This batter is so delicious that they may not make it to the oven....

PB Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies



Ingredients:
1 cup natural peanut butter (such as Earth Balance)
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white
1 tsp good quality vanilla
3/4 cup oat flour
1 cup oats (can use regular or quick oats)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix first four ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth and well blended.  Combine the oats, oat flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl with a whisk.  Mix the contents of both bowls together and stir in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate batter for 30 minutes to an hour to firm up.  Using a small  cookie scoop (about a tbsp in size), place on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly golden.  Cool and store in an airtight container.  After they are set, they are a soft and very moist cookie. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fit Inspiration


Here are the healthy finds from around the web for this week.  If you have been inspired by an article, recipe, workout, etc. and you would like to share, please leave a comment to this post.  I love feedback, so let me know what you think!  Have a great week, friends and stay inspired! ;)

I found a great article from a Busy Mom Gets Fit via Heavenly Healthy.  You can read her tips here to stay motivated!

I really love the savory Breakfast Donburi from Chindeep.  This Japanese dish is simply perfect.  You can serve it with brown rice to increase the nutrient value.

 
Six Sisters Stuff has a great lunch idea for us this week!  I love this Pineapple Chicken Salad recipe.  Delish and lightened-up!

For dinner inspiration, head on over to The Truffled Pig for a delicious Roasted Butterfly Chicken with Ginger Soy Marinade.  Those wonderful flavors sound incredible!  Peggy also has an amazing story about her journey through battling cancer.  She lives a healthy lifestyle and truly is an inspiration!

Lisa over at Lisa's Dinnertime Dish has a great recipe for us to make our own Amazing Aioli.  This would be wonderful as a topping for fresh, grilled fish or spread on a baguette for sandwiches.  I love this wonderful recipe.  It's fancy schmancy, but oh so easy. :)

If you are looking for that perfect side dish to accompany your dinner this week, then be sure and visit Carrie's Experimental Kitchen for a wonderful Champagne and Thyme Roasted Cauliflower.  Sounds amazing!

If you'd like to enjoy weekend happy hour (like I do :), I can't think of a more delicious cocktail than the Blood Orange Martini from Basilmomma.  The fresh squeezed blood orange juice is amazing here.  Feel free to substitute the simple syrup for agave nectar to slim up this cocktail.  Love it!

For dessert, Shape magazine posted 10 Healthiest Ways to Enjoy Peanut Butter in honor of National Peanut Butter day on January 24th.  Included on slide #9 is The Fresh Diet's Peanut Butter Cheesecake.  Yum.  It's the perfect lightened-up recipe in honor of the beloved peanut!

Shape also has a great article on Quick and Easy Chia Seed Recipes.  Since I featured them last week, I thought this would be a great way to show the versatility of this amazing, little powerhouse of nutrition.

I hope that you enjoyed this weekly edition of Fit Inspiration.  Have a wonderful week friends! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jala Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream Sandwiches- Awesome product alert!!!


We are a bunch of ice cream fanatics in this house, especially my kids.  I had gotten to the point where I just quit buying it, because the hub and the kids have zero self control when it's in the house.  Since they tend to have portion control issues, I prefer buying desserts that are already portioned in single serving sizes.  I saw these ice cream sandwiches at Publix this week on sale BOGO.  I love a deal!  I bought two packs and brought them home to my serious ice cream critics.  They were a huge hit!  These babies have 140 calories and are made with frozen yogurt.  You get the benefits of active probiotics with a delicious dessert.  This is a great option for your sweet tooth, so you don't blow your eating plan.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Chicken

I am always experimenting with new crock pot recipes.  Our weekdays are BUSY and my kids are on the go, so we need meals without a lot of fuss and preparation.  I saw a recipe that a friend had posted last week on facebook from allrecipes called Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken.  It sounded really good, so I played around with the recipe and added a little more flavor variation to come up with this version.  It's delicious!  I served it with brown rice, but you could also shred it up for tacos.  This one will remain a favorite in our dinner rotation.  The kids loved it!  Enjoy~

Sweet and Spicy Crock Pot Chicken

Ingredients:
6 small organic boneless frozen chicken breasts
1(16oz) jar medium (or hot) salsa
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small vidalia onion, chopped fine
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup apricot or peach All fruit preserves
1 green pepper, chopped 
fresh ground pepper and sea salt, to taste

Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Top with peppers, onion and garlic.  Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and pour over the chicken.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fit and Fabulous Fridays #15

It's a new year and a new round-up of amazing healthy recipes! Fit and Fabulous Fridays is a place where amazing foodies share their wonderful light and delicious recipes!! I welcome all blogging friends to link up and join the fun. This is a place for you to showcase your amazing creations, encourage a healthy lifestyle for my readers and add to my fit recipe collection. I really appreciate all of you and the great recipes that you share.   I welcome all healthy lifestyle recipes (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo diet, etc.).  Have a fabulous weekend!!!!


Here's how it works:
  • Please link up to the URL of your post, not the URL of your main blog. When it asks for "Name", type in the name of your recipe.
  • Please leave a link back to this post in your post and grab my button for your blog(please pass the word to your blog friends for more fabulous recipes!)
  • Share your delicious and fit recipes from this week.
  • Leave me a comment telling me that you've linked up.
  • Please visit at least two others and comment on their wonderful additions to this party.
  • "Like" my facebook page for updates and link party reminders
Thank you for being a part of my link party! I love sharing recipes and look forward to trying yours! Have a wonderful weekend!!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fit Inspiration...Amazing healthy recipes from around the web

There are so many amazing foodies, all over the internet, that I have the privilege of interacting with on a regular basis.  I wanted to start featuring my favorite finds from around the web to share with all of you.  Fit Inspiration is the post label, so check back regularly for new ideas to compliment your healthy lifestyle.  I am inspired on a daily basis by so many wonderful cooks, websites and food blogs.  I hope that you enjoy my weekly collections.   If you find wonderful sites that inspire you, please share in my comment section.  I love finding new health-conscious foodies and fit lifestyle websites!  Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate your support!!  xoxo~  Amee



Here's my round-up for the week:

Great article from Active about Superfoods to incorporate into your diet here.

In the news: Click here to help fight the overuse of antibiotics in U.S. livestock feed and protect our health!

For breakfast I am going to try Skinnytaste's Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas.  Simply divine!

Dr. Lisa over at Naked Moxie has an amazing Grilled Portobello Sandwich for us for lunch.  I love this meatless meal.  Delish!

For a light mid-afternoon snack, stop by Skinny Ms. for this amazing Green Tea Mango smoothie recipe. 

For dinner I suggest Quinoa Jambalaya from my friend, Mia over at Mia's Domain.  She's brilliant in the kitchen and an inspiring fit foodie.  This recipe is a nutritional powerhouse full of great protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy carbohydrates.  Love it!

For a low-carb dinner and late night snack, check out Fit Sugar's suggestions here.  Great ideas for eating late without sabotaging your diet.

Finally, for a delicious sweet treat without the guilt, head on over to Emily's Bites for some Banana "ice cream".  So simple, quick and healthy!

I hope you enjoy my weekly inspiration to enhance and simplify your meal planning process.  Have a great week friends!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Vegan Smoothie

Tracy over at Eating Smart with Tracy posted this delicious vegan smoothie on facebook this week.  I tried it on on the family yesterday and everyone sucked it down like it was candy and raved!  I made a couple changes to the recipe. I used the new Blue Diamond almond coconut milk blend (delicious) instead of regular almond milk and added a half scoop of organic Whole Nectar protein (it's a GMO free soy-based vegan protein powder that I got through a Vitamix distributor).  It's great because it's pretty much tasteless, unsweetened protein that can be added to any shakes or smoothies without altering the flavor.  This smoothie tastes like dessert!  Enjoy~ 

Peanut Butter Vegan Smoothie


1 1/2 frozen bananas
1 cup almond milk (I used the coconut almond blend)
2 T cocoa powder (I used one, 2 was a little much for me)
2 T healthy peanut butter (such as Earth Balance)
1/2 tsp agave nectar (I used 1 tsp for the kiddos)
*1/2 scoop Whole Nectar protein

Blend and enjoy.

Great new product that I used in this recipe:


I love this new blend for my shakes and smoothies!  Great calorie count, too, at only 45 calories per serving.

*Kitchen tip:  To have frozen bananas on hand for shakes and smoothies, peel over-ripe bananas and slice in half.  Wrap each half in plastic wrap and put into an airtight container or a freezer ziploc bag.  This way you can pull out 1/2 a banana at a time for your recipes.  Sometimes, I don't need a whole banana in my shakes and this is a great, easy way to freeze and store.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fit and Fabulous Fridays #14

It's a new year and a new round-up of amazing healthy recipes!  Fit and Fabulous Fridays is a place where amazing foodies share their wonderful light and delicious recipes!!   I welcome all blogging friends to link up and join the fun.  This is a place for you to showcase your amazing creations, make my readers really hungry and add to my fit recipe collection. I really appreciate all of you and the great recipes that you share.  Have a fabulous weekend!!!!


Here's how it works:
  • Please link up to the URL of your post, not the URL of your main blog. When it asks for "Name", type in the name of your recipe.
  • Please leave a link back to this post in your post and grab my button for your blog(please pass the word to your blog friends for more fabulous recipes!)
  • Share your delicious and fit recipes from this week.
  • Leave me a comment telling me that you've linked up.
  • Please visit at least two others and comment on their wonderful additions to this party.
  • "Like" my facebook page for updates and link party reminders
Thank you for being a part of my link party! I love sharing recipes and look forward to trying yours! Have a wonderful weekend!!




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dark Chocolate Dipped Apricots


Go ahead.....live a little!!  Everyone needs a little splurge and these delicious dipped apricots satisfy my serious chocolate cravings.  There are health benefits in apricots and dark chocolate, so don't feel guilty for enjoying a few after a meal.  You'll get the antioxidant properties of the dark chocolate and the beta-carotene, lycopene and fiber from the apricots.  A quick and delicious dessert with added health benefits.  What could be better?? 
It's this simple, here's what you'll need:
Dried turkish apricots
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao)
sheet of wax paper
cookie sheet
airtight container

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  Stir until soft and creamy during cooking so chocolate doesn't over cook or burn.  Dip each dried apricot into chocolate half way.  Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Refrigerate apricots on the cookie sheet until chocolate has hardened.  Put into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pistachios

This is one of the great recipes that I got from the "Healthy in a Hurry, Part 1" technique class at Williams Sonoma this past weekend.  The focus was on Superfoods and how to incorporate them into your diet through delicious and speedy recipes.  They used the Vitamix to make all of the recipes except this this tasty and colorful quinoa salad.  This salad is jam packed full of nutrients!  Did you know that quinoa is a complete source of protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids??  Here is a great article on the benefits of adding quinoa to your diet.  Some people just can't get used to the taste, but it you learn to prepare it properly, you will find it delicious.  Instead of using all water to cook the quinoa, I used half chicken or beef stock and half water.  This gives it a good flavor.  The original recipe also calls for dried cherries instead of cranberries, so you can adjust according to your preferences.  Other good substitutions to this salad would be do use toasted pine nuts or walnuts instead of pistachios.  Pistachios are my favorite nut, so I love them in this recipe!  Serve alongside grilled tuna or chicken and you have a delicious meal.  Enjoy~


Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pistachios
*Adapted from Williams Sonoma recipes

Ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa
1 cups water plus 1 cup of broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cold water.  In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water and stock to a boil.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer until grains are tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.  Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add all other ingredients.  Toss to mix and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or room temperature.  Store in the refrigerator. 

I love the colors in this salad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chia Seeds....the little magic seed


I attended a cooking class yesterday at Williams Sonoma on healthy eating recipes.  The subject of chia seeds came up during class and I was amazed at how many people have never heard of them.  For your diet that is, because we have all heard about those crazy Chia pets and we don't eat those seeds.  Those guys are for fun and not FDA approved. ;)  The Chia seed sparked a lot of interest. It was a great topic of conversation and inspired my post today.  I wanted to bring awareness to this "little magic seed" and the incredible health benefits that it provides when incorporated into your daily diet.  Here are just a few highlights of why these should be a staple in your pantry. 

  • They are the highest source of Omega 3 fatty acids (more than Salmon!!)  They are a great source of protein, fiber, antioxidants (more than blueberries), vitamins, minerals and calcium
  • They are energizing.  The ancient Aztec warriors could go an entire day on one tablespoon!
  • They reduce cravings.  They have a high fiber content and absorb a lot of water.  Great for endurance athletes or anyone trying to reduce their calorie consumption.
  • They are easy to digest.  They do not require grinding to digest (like flaxseed).
  • They are mild and virtually tasteless.  They add a wonderful crunch to your foods.  I add them to breads, muffins, smoothies, protein shakes, sprinkle on frozen yogurt, greek yogurt and oatmeal, cereal, etc.  They are so versatile and easy to use!
Here is a great article from Dr. Weil on why they should be in your diet.   I buy the Black Australian Chia Seeds from my local farmer's market.  You can find them in some grocery stores, health food stores and online.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Killer Buns & Thighs....a workout that gets results!


I am a big fan of Jillian Michaels workouts.  They are fast and effective! I love how Jillian incorporates cardio, body weight resistance and weight training in one simplified routine.  She's great at delivering fat blasting workouts.  I finished Ripped in 30 and was please with my results, so when I saw the Killer Buns & Thighs workout DVD at Costco, I had to give it a try.  For $7.99, it's a steal!!  I was getting bored with my usual routine and wanted to switch things up a bit.  I run every day with my German Shorthaired Pointer (that needs a daily marathon, but 2-3 miles has to do) and try to squeeze in 2-3 weight training workouts a week.  I was feeling a little competitive and decided to start on level 2 (there are 3 levels).  I knew that I was in trouble when my muscles were burning during the warm-up.  This video is NO JOKE!  It was an incredible workout!!  I love how Jillian has beginner and advanced moves for every workout routine in her videos.  It is suitable for all levels of fitness.  I highly recommend this DVD to add to your rotation.  Always remember to switch up your workouts every few weeks.  You need constant muscle confusion for continuous results.  Besides, the same old routine gets super boring.  The only way to make fitness fun is to keep changing the way you workout!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lime Mint Sorbet (a Vitamix recipe)

I have had a blast playing around with my Vitamix since I got it last August.  I am always looking for new recipes and ways to utilize it's great features.  This sorbet is one of those sneaky ingredient recipes that tastes delicious and you'd never guess what's in it.  The beautiful green color comes, not from the lime, but from the spinach in this dessert!   This is a kid-friendly recipe and a great way to sneak some extra greens into your diet.  Also, this is dairy-free, so a great frozen treat for people (like me) who are lactose intolerant.  Enjoy~

Lime Mint Sorbet


Ingredients:

1/2 cup Welch's frozen grape juice concentrate (the one with the yellow lid and no added sugar), thawed
1/2 banana, peeled
1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1/2 to 1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves ( I use about 3/4 cup)
1 small slice of lime, including peel
1 mint leaf
3 cups ice

Put all ingredients into the blender in order listed. 



Blend on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute, pressing down with tamper to blend well.  When the machine sound changes and four mounds form, the sorbet is ready to serve.  Serve immediately.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Healthy gluten-free snacks

I have two new favorite products that I wanted to share with you, Glenny's Whole Fruit and Nut Bars and Yasso frozen greek yogurt bars.  They both make a great, low calorie, snack option.  I love that the Yasso bars are made with rBST-free milk.  They are gluten-free, fat-free and for 70 calories you get 6 grams of protein.  Not bad!! 





Yogurt bars are a great dessert choice and my kids love them for an after-school snack.  You can also make your own frozen yogurt pops with plain fat-free greek yogurt, low-fat milk, agave nectar or stevia and the fruit of your choice.  Blend together in a blender and pour into popsicle molds.  Delicious!  I got these bars at Costco, but you can "like" their facebook page to find them in your area. 

The Glenny's bars come in a variety of flavors.  I love the Cashew & Almond.  They are made from whole fruits and nuts, dairy-free, naturally sweetened with honey and low in sodium.  Weighing in at only 140 calories, they make the perfect grab-and-go snack for in-between meals.  These babies are tasty, too!   Glenny's is on facebook, too, so check them out!


 

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